Red Sox Pitchers on the Chopping Block

The Boston Red Sox will make roster decisions and two that are becoming obvious are Hector Velazquez and Brandon Workman. Neither have shone in Spring Training.

Just how important is a win / loss record?  I believe that was answered in 2010 when Felix Hernandez won the Cy Young Award despite having a 13-12 record for the Mariners. But that was based primarily on metrics and that now has traction.  This spring Hector Velazquez is 2-0 as he battles Brian Johnson for a rotation slot. The battle is over. I fully expect Velazquez to lead the rotation in Pawtucket.

We all know the statistical dance and personal minutia regarding Velazquez.  The 29-year-old righty was signed out of the Mexican League and did well in Boston and certainly sparkled with Pawtucket (AAA). If the PawSox had an ace it was Velazquez.

The latest for Velazquez was a 4.1 inning effort against the Orioles in which he allowed four earned runs. For this spring the totals are not disappointing, but downright depressing: 14.2 IP, 21 H, 3 BB, 7K, 6.75 ERA.  As a Velazquez cheerleader, I must face the inevitable and send Velazquez the apartment listings for the greater Pawtucket area.

With winners you have losers in the competition, but there is no participation trophy and Johnson after a brilliant four innings in his last start is now designated as part of the rotation. Johnson – out of options – now can resuscitate his career and maybe deliver on the high-end promise of a few years ago.

Brandon Workman is now 29-years-old, and the right-hander is attempting to make the bullpen. That now looks like a diminishing option for Workman.  In 2013 and 2014 Workman split duties between starting and the bullpen with little that showed any promise. In 2015 Workman underwent Tommy John Surgery and 2016 was the beginning of his recovery cycle.

The 2017 season saw split duty for Workman between Pawtucket and Boston.  With the Red Sox it suddenly clicked and in 33 games Workman posted a quite respectable 3.18 ERA that is somewhat negated by a 4.49 FIP.

This spring training Workman suddenly – like Velazquez – became a pitching Hindenburg.  In eight games Workman has allowed 13 hits in just 8.1 innings. That is not the stuff management wants to see for someone coming in with runners on. Thankfully. Workman – like Velazquez – has a baseball lifeline – options.


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Expect both to get their innings tossed in the International League until the usual happens – either they get smoked, they excel, and a job opening happens when someone in the bullpen goes down with an injury. So, they become insurance – one for the rotation and one for the bullpen. If either show during the season it is likely due to bad news.

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About Rick McNair

Born in Boston and have lived in the area all my life but not as a Red Sox fan. My first game was actually at Braves Field where I saw a very young Eddie Matthews hit a home run. The Braves left and I quickly switched loyalties. I enjoy discussing the Red Sox past and the connection of that past to the present. I will often bring in remembrances of that into posts. As a retired teacher I have the time to occasional travel to foreign baseball soil and love meeting up with other fans of RSN on the road. I am also a fan of the NY Football Giants (via NJ) - a dwindling breed in Massachusetts.
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